Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti had admitted that he's told goalkeeper Jordan Pickford that he must improve, following a number or erratic mistakes since the Premier League restarted.
Pickford's shot stopping and distribution skills have rarely been called into question, but lapses in concentration and soft errors have crept into his game with increasing frequency this season.
The Toffees goalkeeper was fortunate to not concede another during Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Wolves after Diogo Jota's shot wriggled through his grasp, while was lucky to not be punished after misreading and fumbling a cross against Tottenham a week earlier.
That's forced Ancelotti into speaking to England's number one stopper, though the Italian insists he still has full backing.
“I’m not so worried because he has quality, he has character, but I have to say to him, and I have said to him, that he has to improve," Ancelotti said (via The Times). “I have, and everyone else at the club has, total confidence in his quality. He can do better and he knows this because he is critical of himself. I hope there is improvement in the next games.
"For the quality that he has, and he agreed, he has to be better."
Everton are without a strong number two to challenge Pickford for his starting berth, with 37-year-old Maarten Stekelenburg re-joining Ajax at the end of the season and third choice goalkeeper João Virgínia, who is just 20, yet to make a Premier League appearance.
However, Ancelotti is not convinced that the lack of competition is an issue for Pickford.
"I don’t know if he needs competition," the Everton boss added. "I know that he is not doing well. I spoke to him about this. He has to be focused on himself, on his performance, day by day to try to be better."
Pickford would have been expected to be in between the sticks for England at Euro 2020, but with the tournament now pushed back a year and the impressive performances of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson, his place as Gareth Southgate's number one is no longer assured.
Source : 90min